Dar Beida – A Castle in the Sand in Coastal Essaouira [Morocco]

Morocco is a country I always wished to visit and when I did, it revealed itself as an amazing destination. Essaouira, by the Atlantic coast, is a city built by the Portuguese to flourish as a trade port and continues to enchant the visitor to this day.

In this very cinematographic city, walking among the alleyways of the ancient fort-city there is a castle, a refurbished 200-year-old traditional style ‘dar’ or Moroccan house. Jimi Hendrix – who visited the town in the 60’s – is the inspiration for Dar Beida by Castles in the Sand brand. This bespoke space, designed by interior designer Emma Wilson, is a whimsical tale of white washed walls as a minimal canvas for the colorful minds of its owners – the Dar is decorated with quirky and cool objects, furniture and textiles inspired by the rich culture of North Africa.

A bohemian space within the Old Medina and only 10 minutes walk to the vast sandy beach of Essaouira. The 4-bedroom boutique guesthouse accommodates 2 to 8 guests and the villa, situated by the iconic Bab Doukkala food quarter, is brimming with 60’s furniture and artisan Moroccan folk pieces.

The ambience is relaxed and modern – one’s own castle in the fort – split in three levels. This remarkable place features fireplaces, a central courtyard, a library and chill rooms. The service is bespoke and the concierge can make the guest truly feel at home. The most beautiful feature – knowing how drop-dead gorgeous the sunsets here are – is the terrace: going up crispy white steps one can only see the immense blue skies through a stone arch – magical.

Essaouira is romantic, poetic and it imprints its beauty in the visitor’s soul. Dar Beida is another magical actor in the ever evolving storytelling of this historical town. A story anyone would be happy to be part of.

The cool Atlantic breeze, the hues of pink and purple of sunsets, the call for a prayer that enchants the ears…Essaouira was as magical as I could have imagined.


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